Have a big vision but a small budget? You're not alone. If a large-scale project is out of the question right now, you can still dramatically improve the ministry function of your facilities through modest upgrades, such as these:
1. Create a connection space.
Gone are the days of the foyer being just a place to hang your coat and enter the sanctuary. Today’s buzzwords are third space and connection space. This is a common area designed for hanging out. It may be a wide-open area used to congregate before and after service. Some are designed to have a cafe feel with coffee bars, tables, and sitting areas to create multiple conversation venues. A good connection space often doubles as a classroom or banquet hall for special gatherings. For the first-time visitor, this is where they will often have their first impression of your church.
2. Update the sanctuary.
Trading pews for chairs is one of the most popular upgrades we see happening in worship spaces today. The decision can cause division, so it’s best to consider what best fits the DNA of your church. However, it’s true that you can seat more people with chairs than pews. In addition, if the worship space is not a dedicated sanctuary, chairs allow flexibility for room set-up and configuration. Consider storage options for chairs when not in use, as well as flooring that is durable and easy to clean.
3. Prioritize the nursery and children’s areas.
Investing in quality spaces for your nursery and children’s ministry reflects how much your church values families. At minimum, a good nursery space should have the following attributes:
- Proximity to parents
- A secure drop-off/pick-up area and other recommended security measures, such as cameras in each room
- Equipment that complies with federal safety requirements
For kids’ spaces, updating the decor and upgrading security makes kids feel welcome and parents feel good about bringing their children. In addition, many churches invest in electronic check-in systems that improve both safety and convenience.
4. Construct a gym or multi-purpose facility.
Sometimes referred to as family life centers, these buildings are typically one of the most efficient types of spaces to build. They offer flexible space that can be shared by different ministries as well as the community through athletic programs and gatherings. Often, construction of these facilities is accompanied by outdoor athletic fields. Some churches will even use the space for Sunday worship.
5. Exhibit the right signs.
Signs are important for providing information and a sense of security and attraction for visitors. Try to look at your facility from a newcomer's perspective and find ways to make it welcoming and easy to navigate. Updating the main exterior sign is a good place to start, but you may also consider adding designated visitor parking close to the entrace and other directional signs around the church gounds. Keep in mind, updating exterior signage may require a permit. Inside, make sure all meeting rooms, restrooms, children's areas, and offices are clearly labeled.
6. Provide outdoor shelter.
Depending on your climate, canopies can be an inviting architectural element of a building, making it obvious where the front door is, and can also provide essential protection from bad weather. In addition, sheltered outdoor connection spaces are becoming recognized as an effective venue for ministry.
7. Explore new technology.
For most churches, improvements to media infrastructure and equipment is ongoing, but if you haven’t made changes in a while, it may be time to enhance your ministry spaces with new multi-media capabilities. Audio, video, lighting, and other media upgrades can be incorporated into classrooms, small group spaces, the foyer, connection spaces, children’s ministry areas, and the sanctuary.
8. Make a good impression.
Well-maintained, attractive, and inviting buildings elicit a positive response from new guests, as well as people who have attended your church for years. The good news is it doesn’t have to cost much to make an old space feel new again. Here are some ideas, many of which can be done with the help of volunteers and may not all require contractors:
- Attractive landscaping
- Fresh paint
- A new roof
- Eye-catching banners (make sure you obtain all necessary permits and change out the banners occasionally to keep attention)
- Fresh paint in coordinating colors
- New flooring, such as carpet, tile, stained concrete, or even area rugs
- Updated light fixtures
- Restroom upgrades, including new faucets, countertops, mirrors, and partitions
- Fresh flowers, artwork, accessories, and seating arrangements
Whether you would like to simply renovate your current facilities or are interested in new construction, we can help with planning and funding. For more information, call 866.621.1787 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.